Roberto Martinez is refusing to read too much into Stoke City’s previous two results as he prepares his Everton side for the New Year’s Day trip to the Britannia Stadium.
It has not been the season of goodwill for the Potters, who have shipped eight goals in comprehensive defeats away at Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur.
They were crushed 5-1 at St James’ Park on Boxing Day before losing 3-0 at White Hart Lane two days later.
But Martinez believes Stoke will be much stronger on home soil, where they have recorded 16 of their 21 points so far this term.
He said: “You look at their last two results, there was a freak performance against Newcastle and that affected them going into Spurs.
“Stoke at home are unbeaten in their last six. They have won their last two, which were impressive performances and results against Chelsea and Aston Villa. When they play at the Britannia they are an extremely difficult team.
“We know what we are facing and we need to be at our best and fully recovered. I expect a very difficult game tomorrow.”
At the midpoint of the 2013/14 campaign, Everton have won just under half of their league matches on the road.
This gives Martinez plenty of cause for optimism as the Blues go searching for a fifth away victory of the season.
Maximum points at Stoke, coupled with a Chelsea defeat at Southampton, could elevate Everton into third position in the table.
“It’s been a very good start to the season. Halfway through is a good landmark to assess where we are and we have 37 points which is significant,” added Martinez.
“But the most important aspect is how we got those 37 points. It’s not been a matter of being lucky or fortunate in key moments – it’s the opposite.
“We have had the lowest amount number of defeats and the draws we have had, they were probably closer to victories.
“The performances we have had at very special places – like Old Trafford, the Emirates and the Liberty Stadium – gives us great excitement going into the second half of the season.”
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